J. M. De Cristofaro’s CronodeVFD wristwatch features an IVL2-7/5 VFD display tube.

J. M. De Cristofaro’s CronodeVFD wristwatch features an IVL2-7/5 VFD display tube.

 

Smartwatches are the latest craze for those who want to interact with their smartphones and keep tabs on their fitness regimens, however sometimes all you need is something that tells the time, while looking incredible. That’s precisely what engineer J. M. De Cristafaro did when he designed his CronodeVFD cyberpunk themed wristwatch.

The IVL2-7/5 VFD display tube is actually Russian surplus, making them rather cheap to buy.

The IVL2-7/5 VFD display tube is actually Russian surplus, making them rather cheap to buy.

 

His watch is centered around an IVL2-7/5 VFD (Vacuum Fluorescent Display) display tube, which has a rather flat tube rather than cylindrical making it an easy choice for a wristwatch. The CronodeVFD is powered by an ATMega 88 AVR and tells the time using a DS3231 I2C real time clock. One AAA or one AA battery powers the watch but only for 2 to 4 hours respectively, however since the watch is actually a costume piece it’s only worn occasionally.

A simple leather band holds the watch in place and a brass ‘roll cage’ gives it protection.

A simple leather band holds the watch in place and a brass ‘roll cage’ gives it protection.

 

It’s interesting to note that the CronodeVFD circuit board is also outfitted with a host of sensors, including a barometer, accelerometer and light sensor, making it a candidate for use as a smartwatch, however De Cristofaro left them inactive for now. It’s unknown if he will expand on his design in the future but those looking to build their own can if they feel the need. To see his complete build process and the materials needed, head over to his website located here. Personally, I would hide the PCB and let the 7-segment display be the focus…